Not so long ago, electricity used on camping holidays was supplied by a parent hooking up a rough-looking lead running from the car battery. Sometimes, it was supplied by a noisy and smelly gas-powered generator. How times have changed!
Modern portable power stations provide substantial levels of electrical power that are silent and clean.
You no longer have to suffer noise complaints from your camping neighbors; instead, you can silently enjoy your fishing or other outdoor activities while you keep company with your deep thoughts.
In this article, we look at two of the more compact members of the portable power station community, namely the Bluetti AC60 and Jackery 500. Both are impressive products that punch well above their expected weight level.
To start the comparison, the following section lists the features common to both products.
Portable power stations are portable batteries installed alongside a built-in inverter. The inverter takes the Direct Current (DC) from the battery and converts it into Alternating Current (AC), which you can use to power your electrical appliances.
Therefore, the choice of battery is a huge factor you should consider when choosing a portable power system.
Both devices use LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries. There are several benefits of LiFePO4 batteries over other chemistries.
The Output Specifications
The basic power output generated by the two systems is very similar.
|Output Type||BLUETTI AC60||Jackery 500|
|Phases||Single Phase||Single Phase|
|Battery Capacity||403 Wh||518 Wh|
|AC Output 1||120 VAC/5 A, 600 W in total||110 VAC, 60Hz, 500 W (Single outlet)|
|AC Output 2||120 V/5 A, 600 W in total||n/a|
|Surge Power||1,200 W||1,000 W|
|Power upgrade to||A B80 Battery can be added, which doubles the battery capacity to 2,015 Wh.||No expansion available|
|Car DC Outlet||12 V/10 A (1 outlet)||12 V/7 A (1 outlet)|
|RV DC Outlet||n/a||n/a|
|DC 5521 Output||n/a||12 V/7 A (2 outlets)|
|USB-A Output||5 V /3 A (2 outlets)||5 V/ 2.4 A (3 outlets)|
|USB-A Fast Charge||n/a||n/a|
|USB-C Output||100 W Max (1 outlet)||n/a|
|Wireless Charging Pads||15 W 1 charging pad||n/a|
The Bluetti provides 5 electrical outlets, including a wireless charging pad.
The Jackery 500 has seven electrical outlets. However, it does not have a USB-C plug or the very convenient wireless charging pad that is found on the AC60.
When paired with a Bluetti B80 battery, the battery capacity jumps from 403Wh to 2,015 Wh. This means it will supply power for 5 times as long. This is a great feature for vacations that extend a bit longer.
The AC60’s surge power rating of 1.2kW is 20% higher than the 1kW produced by the Jackery 500, meaning it’ll run appliances with larger induction motors (such as fridges and freezers).
Mobility & Portability
They are advertised as the ultimate portable power stations, so let’s discuss their portability.
|Bluetti AC60||11.3in (29.0cm)||8.5in (20.5 cm)||9.7in (23.4 cm)||18.9lbs (8.6kg)|
|Jackery 500||11.8in (30.1 cm)||7.6in (19.3 cm)||9.2in (24.2 cm)||13.32lbs (6.04kg)|
Both devices have compact dimensions and can realistically be called portable. The Jackery 500 weighs 5 ½ pounds less than the Bluetti, making this the easier device to carry over longer distances.
Neither machine would be easy to carry on long hikes; however, each device will fit the bill for short distances and when used for that special fishing trip or weekend away with the family.
Both products have an internal cooling fan that operates when they are under strain and heating up. This can be a noticeably intrusive noise in some power stations and inverters.
In both models, the sound produced is approximately 45db (decibels), which is quiet.
Here’s an article that dives deeper into comparing the quietness of portable solar generators.
Both products are well supported by the manufacturers and enjoy generous warranty periods.
- Bluetti AC60 – Valid for 6 years.
- Jackery 500 – Valid for 5 years.
The warranty offered on the Jackery was originally valid for three years. However, the manufacturer has added an additional two years free of charge. I’m unsure if this is a limited-time offer or a permanent arrangement.
Please check that this offer is still in force if you plan to purchase this product.
Both manufacturers provide helplines and service staff with a great reputation for assisting clients who may experience product problems.
Certifications & Compliance
The certifications that each product has been awarded are listed below.
|Certification||BLUETTI AC60||Jackery 500|
|CEC (California Energy Commission)||Yes||Yes|
|DOE (US Department of Energy)||Yes||Yes|
|FCC (Federal Communication Commission)||Yes||Yes|
|CA Prop 65 (California Proposition 65)||Yes||No|
|TELEC (Telecom Engineering Center)||No||No|
The main differences between the two power stations are listed in the following section.
The Bluetti AC60 Is Weather Proof
To qualify as being fully portable, a power station must also be completely dust and waterproof.
Until now, this has been a weakness of portable power stations. The good news is that the AC60 is completely waterproof and dustproof. In this regard, it has been awarded an IP65 rating, which means it is fully weatherproof.
This is a useful attribute for an electrical device intended to be used outside.
IP (Ingress Protection) ratings are scores assigned to product housings that rate their ability to keep foreign objects outside.
The first digit of the rating scores the housing’s intrusion protection ability.
The AC60 scores a 6 – This is the highest rating and is awarded to a completely dust-tight housing. This means that it offers full protection against dust and other solid particles.
The second digit is the score of the housing’s ability to repel moisture.
The Bluetti scores a 5 – this is a midway score; while it is not completely waterproof (as in being able to be submerged in water), it offers protection against low-pressure water jets of water sprayed from all angles. This means it can be used in the rain.
Although they use the same battery chemistry, one of the biggest differences is the time it takes to charge each station.
An area where the AC60 vastly outperforms the Jackery 500 is in terms of the charging current it can handle.
|Bluetti AC60||Jackery 500|
|AC Adapter Input||600W Max||200W Max|
|Solar Input||200W Max||100W Max|
|Input from Car Cigarette Lighter Port||12V or 24V, 8A, 200W Max||12V or 24V, 8A, 100W Max|
|Electric generator||600W Max||200W Max|
One of the key marketing benefits of the AC60 is that charge times are substantially shorter than competitive models.
This is due to the manufacturer’s proprietary battery management system, which enables an 80% charge in 45 minutes.
|Bluetti AC60||Jackery 500|
|AC Adapter Input||1 ¼ hours||7 ½ Hours|
|Solar Input *||3 ½ Hours||9 ½ Hours|
|Input from Car Cigarette Lighter Port||3 ½ Hours||7 ½ Hours|
|Electric Generator||1 ¼ hours||7 ½ Hours|
📝 Manufacturers Note: Charge times from solar assume the maximum possible sunlight using the highest-rated solar panels that each manufacturer recommends.
The good news is that both products can be safely used while recharging.
The AC60 Can Be Controlled Remotely
The AC60 has free access to the BLUETTI App (available in the iOS and Android Play stores).
If you are having an afternoon nap and don’t want to get up to check on the power station, the AC60 is the machine for you.
Without getting up, you can do the following:
- Check the status.
- Start the charging process (assuming it is plugged in).
- Switch it on to start providing power.
- Change several of the system’s settings.
The Jackery 500 has fully manual controls, which are activated directly in the unit.
While both devices offer a great value proposition, I’ve chosen the Bluetti AC60 as the superior machine.
But just before I jump into why, I suggest following this link that looks at another option, the Goal Zero 500X against the Jackery 500.
There are many reasons why the Bluetti AC60 is the winner, but mainly because it is the newest design, and the other manufacturers are still to respond.
🏆 It is completely dustproof and waterproof
🏆 The battery capacity can be increased by more than 500% (paired with a Bluetti B80 battery)
🏆 Enabled for remote control.
🏆 This device offers faster charging than the Jackery.
🏆 Surge power at 1.2kW outperforms the Jackery, handling bigger induction motor appliances.
Does this mean that I don’t recommend the Jackery 500? Not exactly. I would choose Jackery 500 under the following circumstances.
- If the power station was going to be carried for long distances.
- If the Bluetti AC60 is NOT plugged into an extended battery, the Jackery 500 can provide power for 25% longer.
Whichever of the two portable power stations you buy, you can rest assured that they are great products that will provide you with a stable electrical power supply when needed.